By Woodard, Dale on April 11, 2020.
The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns capped off its 53rd athletic season with a virtual Blue and Gold Banquet.
With the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the globe, the Horns moved their annual awards ceremony to cyberspace and on Thursday announced their major award winners.
Winning this year’s Male Athlete of the Year is track and field athlete Andreas Troschke, while rugby player Hailey Driscoll was honoured as the Female Athlete of the Year.
Another track athlete won the third major award as David Awosoga was selected for the President’s Award.
Entering his third year as a Pronghorn, Troschke had medalled at the national meet the previous two years but missed a conference medal.
Opening the indoor season on the right foot, the product of Olds won the weight throw in the first three tune-up meets heading into the Canada West Championships.
At the Canada West Championship, Troschke finished off the task, standing atop the podium in Saskatoon with a meet-furthest throw of 17.47 metres.
Looking to medal for a third consecutive year at the U SPORTS Championships, Troschke had to rally late in the competition to achieve that goal.
Outside the medal standings heading into his final throw, he came up big with a throw of 17.64 metres to vault up to a bronze medal at the U SPORTS Championships in Edmonton.
A graduate of Chinook High School, Driscoll excelled on and off the field, using a relentless work ethic to improve her physical skills and fitness.
She used her speed to score a combined 15 tries this season in both 15’s and 7’s competition, while defence she was often asked to mark the other teams fastest players and was able to shut them down.
Last summer Driscoll was also named to the Canadian team that played in the World Universiade in Naples, Italy and this season was named a Canada West All-Star and U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian. She will be remembered as one of the most prolific try scorers in Pronghorn history.
Away from the field, Driscoll was named a 2018-19 Academic All-Canadian and will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Arts and Science, majoring in kinesiology.
Awosoga earned the President’s Award as the Pronghorn student-athlete with the highest academic standing at the university, while competing full time with a varsity sport and taking a minimum academic load of 18 credit hours.
In addition to being the recipient of the President’s Award, Awosoga is also entrenched in giving back to the community.
While achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA and training and competing on the track, he spends countless hours giving back to various organizations, working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lethbridge, Love Lethbridge Youth, Lethbridge Bible Quizzing and Lethbridge Public Library to only name a few.
The Pronghorns men’s hockey team claimed the Team Academic Award, presented to the team with the highest academic standing, for the first time with a combined for a team GPA of 3.27.
A trio of Pronghorns were also recognized as this year’s Community Service and Citizenship award winners, given to athletes demonstrating outstanding community involvement in volunteering and providing community service within the most recent academic year.
Taking home the honour this year are track and field athlete Madeline Szabo, soccer player Mackenzie Salmon and hockey player Torrin White.
Szabo has been a fixture with this award and continues to define what being a Pronghorn student-athlete means to be. Continuing with her consistent growth in her sport, she is a multiple time Academic All-Canadian and is the benchmark when it comes to community service among Pronghorn Athletes.
She also volunteers with multiple local organizations, including Alberta Health Services, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and All Saints Parrish to name only a few.
Completing her fourth year of eligibility with the women’s soccer team, Salmon has been a strong community advocate since transferring from Medicine Hat College.
Salmon appeared in 10 games this season and will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts and Science this spring with the hopes of entering dental school.
She has participated in four Honduras Medical Missions and has intention of volunteering again this summer, volunteers with Canadian Blood Service Life Savers Club and was scheduled to volunteer on the Midway Atoll Seabird Conservation project this year from April to May.
White graduates the Horns program this year and made an impact in his last year.
He conceived, structured and delivered the “Pronghorns Against Bullying” program, an immensely popular and impactful grade school program with St. Martha elementary school.
White also structured the curriculum so it can continue as part of Pronghorn Athletics community services into the future.
In addition to the bullying program, he donates his time with Lethbridge Special Olympics and Hockey Alberta and has recently been accepted into Carleton University of pursue a Master’s in Philanthropy and Not-for-profit Leadership.
Sponsored by Fire Safety Services and Lethbridge Fasteners each recipient will receive a scholarship of $1,250.
Pronghorns rugby player Keegan Brantner and men’s soccer player Marcus Menzies are the winners of this year’s Alumni Leadership Award.
Within the women’s rugby team, players look to Brantner to lead not only on the field but off as well.
Leading the team in competition, she also organizes team activities and community initiatives. Over her four years as a Pronghorn student-athlete, Brantner has grown into being one of the lead voices on the Pronghorn Student Athlete Council and has also taken a lead role in the Pronghorn Leadership Academy that was launched two seasons ago.
A co-captain to start the season and despite suffering a season-ending injury early in the season, Menzies has been a leader on and off the field for the program this year.
He has been an active supporter, role model while providing feedback and insight during the teams training session and off the field he has been instrumental to the team’s success.
Menzies serves as a mentor for first-year players, providing guidance on academics and life skills. He meets one-on-one with players to assist them with their study skills, time management and strategies to assist with the stresses of being a student-athlete.